Selecting and Installing Energy-Efficient Windows to Improve Dwelling Sustainability

Avi Friedman, Morgan Matheson


Windows play a significant role in achieving comfort in buildings by letting in natural light, solar warmth, fresh air and permitting outdoor views. On the other hand, poor quality windows can be the source of overheating or unwanted infiltration or exfiltration of air. Quality windows, therefore, influence the dwelling’s energy consumption and consequently its sustainability. Heat losses through the building envelope can occur in any of three mechanisms: conduction, convection and radiation. In all cases, windows are the “weakest link”. As such, windows represent the most important investment in the construction or renovation of any dwelling. They are also highly variable in price, appearance and performance, making their selection an ambiguous and sometimes difficult process. This paper examines a window unit’s energy performance and provides guidelines for its selection, installation and integration into the home’s design.


windows; energy-efficient; heat loss; air leakage; condensation; glazing

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